Today I came across an old journal. I cautiously opened it and read through all the cringe-worthy pages. The first entries are from when I was 14 and go all the way up to 17. Most of it is totally embarrassing. Lots of extremely detailed entries over exactly what this or that boy said and exactly how I felt. Some entries were silly and happy, some were prayers for friends, and some were cries for help during some confusing and painful times.
When I was 15, Taylor Swift had curly hair and was singing about being Fearless. Fearless in your choices, emotions, and your life. She was also singing a song about being fifteen. That year she won the Ultimate Teen Choice Award and in her acceptance speech she said this: “When I was a teenager I felt like we were always being stereotyped as being very intense and dramatic and passionate and hopelessly romantic and excitable. Now in retrospect, I think I need to let you know that all of those things are amazing things, and I hope you never lose those things.”
I was all of these things at 14, 15, 16 and on. Taylor Swift is singing about different things now, and my journal is full of different words. Now in retrospect, here are some things I would tell 15 year old me if it were possible:
Do not let boys take up too much of your headspace. Future you hates this. I know he’s dreamy and you have fun together, but your brain is powerful so fill it with different thoughts. Read more, learn more, pray more, and fill your mind with things that matter instead. This boy is not the one, and neither is the boy that comes after him. That being said, cry when you break up. Listen to Taylor Swift’s break up songs and sing at the top of your lungs. Don’t let anyone try to invalidate your feelings just because you are young. Tell your sisters all about it, and then let it go.
Appreciate all of your family sharing a home. Soon your big sisters are going to get married and move out. Your family will be bigger and you will love your new brothers, but take time to enjoy all being under one roof. Take advantage of your sisters’ closets being just upstairs. Be thankful you all live in the same place.
Life is going to get weird. Everything is going to change and you will be okay. Be sad, be angry, be disappointed, and be confused. But then be okay. Be a fighter, be forgiving, be transparent, be strong, and let it all go. Bloom where you’re planted and don’t try to live in two places at once.
Don’t be upset when you’re friends don’t take your advice. We follow the advice we want to hear; you don’t have to take it personal. Be there for them when it all doesn’t work out, just like they do for you.
Have fun. Dye your hair red instead of just talking about dyeing your hair red. Have girls nights. Give a big hug to your papaw. Don’t be surprised when Miley cuts all of her hair off and loses her chill (R.I.P. Hannah Montana.) Please stop listening to so much pop-punk music. Don’t let that boy come between you and your friend. Don’t listen to Emily when she tries to tell you about this new band that you’ll love. She will turn you into a total fangirl. Do tell Emily everything though; she’ll still be one of your best friends all these years later.
You’re going to see some cool places and experience a lot of new things. Embrace all the things that are changing around you.
your future self.
I included some pictures below of 15 year old me learning how to drive, celebrating my birthday, doing school projects, and being silly and smiley with lots of people that are still in my life today.
Also, if you can spot the Jonas Brothers t-shirt you get 50 bonus points.